Hasler's five-year plan for domination Glenn Jackson | October 7, 2008 http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/haslers-fiveyear-plan/2008/10/06/1223145262979.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 THE morning after the night before was one of sore heads, croaky throats and strange get-ups for many, but for others, it was about getting straight back to work. After winning the premiership on Sunday night with the biggest grand-final margin of victory, Manly's brains trust were already working on repeating the feat. It may seem ludicrous, but the seeds of Manly's premiership defence next year were actually planted six weeks ago - that's a good 42 days before they were able to call it a premiership defence. "We started six weeks ago for '09 - '09's pretty well formulated," Manly coach Des Hasler said yesterday. The Sea Eagles' victory on Sunday was a culmination of a five-year plan, hatched by Hasler and his staff. And sure enough, yesterday there was talk about another five-year plan. Not exactly talk of a dynasty for a side that has made two successive grand finals but certainly an era of domination. "I hear that word every grand final and I don't like the terminology," Sea Eagles chief executive Grant Mayer said. "To be fair, dynasty is a little bit romantic. "At the end of the day, you create a team around a coach, his coaching staff and some key players. Des has done that for the last five years and he's got a vision for the next five years as well. The idea quite clearly now is to maintain a top-four position for the next three or four years, because historically you see clubs that win a competition - within three or four years they start to slide. "That's the one thing that you've got to try and protect against, and we think we've done that Ã¢Â€Â¦ we're pretty confident that we've got the side around us." It used to be that a decent forward pack was the most important thing for a club, and it is still an essential. But forward means something different to innovative clubs. "It's just about forward thinking," Mayer said. "You can't look 12 months in advance any more. We're looking in 2010, 2011 now. We're lucky we're in a position now that we're locked up pretty much for '09, and we'll be starting on '10 before you know it. It might be a nice day off [yesterday] for most, but come the morning we're back into it again." Hasler was back at the club's offices yesterday, although he insisted he wasn't working. And if it hadn't been a public holiday, he said he "probably" would not be working, probably being the key word. He is the centre of this grand Manly plan, somewhat remarkable considering prop Brent Kite was joking yesterday that the players give Hasler a hard time when they see him pass the football at training because, "He was once the Australian halfback - they [the passes] were pretty ordinary. "Not everyone thought he'd go straight into coaching," Kite said. "Des's go was just about guts and determination, they weren't sure if he was much of a thinking player. But he's been instrumental in this success." Hasler, of course, deflected everything his players heaped on to him back on them, saying: "Every coach has a charter to win a premiership." And he vowed not to take the foot off the gas even though he has now claimed coaching's grand prize. "If you wanted to, I think you could, but I don't think you can afford to," Hasler said. "That's when you start to lose your passion for it. You'll see those warning signs pretty early. You get on with going forward." And so the players, while basking in a grand-final glow, joined in. "There's some really experienced players leaving and good players leaving," said hooker Matt Ballin, himself the final piece of next year's jigsaw, but poised to sign a three-year deal. "We've recruited a few good ones as well. It's a good team and the nucleus will still be here. There's no reason why we can't perform well next year as well." Others, thankfully, still spent some time looking back. For a moment. "You've just got to soak this up," Kite said. "I was of the belief that it's all downhill from here. Are we ever going to win a grand final 40-0 again? I don't know if that's very likely. We're really going to try and enjoy this one and see what comes." They will have about six weeks to enjoy it, because, "'09 comes around and it starts again on 18th of November," Hasler said.